3 Reasons Why Loving Others is Not All There Is to Following Jesus

In recent years the idea that loving others is the essence of following Jesus has exploded. And this is a good thing! It runs counter to the view that following Jesus means embracing harmful beliefs like angry god, inerrancy, legalism, eternal punishment in hell, anti-science Young Earth Creationism, and homophobia.

Those beliefs are not only burdens to those who believe them, but they lead to harsh judgment and condemnation toward those outside the tribe of conservative believers and to badgering people to accept the harmful baggage they promote.

How could simply loving others not be better than this? Well it is better—much better! Understanding Jesus’ teaching and example of loving others, and his presentation of God as a loving parent who comes to us with empathy, compassion, and acceptance, sets a remarkably positive motivation for us to love others in the same way. This is very important; loving others is foundational to following Jesus.

But this is not ALL there is to following Jesus. Three other vastly important aspects to following Jesus are:

  1. Sharing the Good News of Jesus to All the World
  2. Loving Our Enemies
  3. Bringing about God’s Will by Expanding the Community of God on Earth

Now I agree that these additional aspects can all be considered part of the general aspect of loving other–but many believers don’t see it that way and don’t embrace these responsibilities.

Sharing the Good News

Sermon on the Mount, Carl Heinrich Bloch 1876

Sermon on the Mount, Carl Heinrich Bloch 1876

Jesus came preaching the good news of the kingdom (community) of God, and he spent time training his followers to spread that good news. For example, Jesus sent the 70 to share the good news in Galilee with excellent results. Later, Matthew 28 reports Jesus as saying:

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

Jesus certainly taught us to love others, but he also expects us to share the good news of the kingdom of God in ever-expanding waves. This is one way we express our love for others—sharing with them a message that will change their lives for the better right here on Earth.

Loving Our Enemies

Most believers practice some form of loving others. Even fundamentalists purport to ‘love the sinner and hate the sin’, which to the designated ‘sinner’ doesn’t feel like love at all with all the judgment, condemnation, and attacks on their ‘sin’.

But even among more moderate or progressive believers, whenever I talk about loving our enemies I get a lot of heavy push-back, fury, and insults. And responses often become very angry when I talk about love and nonviolence toward those who steal from us or personally attack us. And if I suggest treating our wartime ‘enemies’ with empathy, compassion, and care many infuriated believers hit the roof claiming that such people do not deserve any kindness as all.

Yet loving our enemies is part of Jesus’ instruction to us. Luke 6 quotes Jesus saying,

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…Do to others as you would have them do to you.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?…love your enemies, do good to them…Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Jesus calls us to love our enemies. It is part of the ethic of the community of God.

Following Jesus is Very Political—But Not, Perhaps, as Many People Think

As believers, our highest allegiance is to the community of God and not to our nation or culture; “Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not!” So when our country (wherever it is) has expectations of us that are contrary to our citizenship in the kingdom of God we must not comply. And Caesar does not like that at all—many believers have been killed for it.

Fortunately, today’s democracies provide allowances for genuine religious convictions (and I don’t mean discriminating against gays by refusing to bake a wedding cake). But even so we are, to some extent, strangers in our cultures and nations because our citizenship in the community of God always takes precedence and thus operates in tension with governments.

Jesus tells us to pray that God’s will be done on Earth, so the community of God speaks against power, greed, and domination. No matter how accommodating a government might be, the community of God is counter-cultural; it is a challenge, threat, and subversion to the empire as we move toward the will of God on Earth. The establishment of God’s intention for the earth is not accomplished by power, violence, or imposing our beliefs on others but primarily by the transformation of individuals and the culture.

This does not mean we cannot participate in the life of the nation at all; in democracies we can vote, advocate for justice, and protest peacefully. However, we must be aware of the dangers of being counter-cultural within the nation, and even more so we must avoid the danger of being absorbed into the culture. Jesus and the community of God must always be our first allegiance.

Let Us Continue to Love Others but…

I am sure the community of God is represented in some measure by every believer, but sometimes it is so covered over by misguided beliefs, behaviors, and priorities as to be weak, virtually unidentifiable, and ineffective. We should each, individually, attend to that problem within ourselves.

So let us continue to love others but not forget that we also need to share the good news, love our enemies, and remember that Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not—no matter who our Caesar is at the moment. Be an active part of the community of God.

Articles in this series: Jesus, World Religions, and Eternal Life

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This entry was posted in behavior, Jesus, Kingdom of God, love, love your enemies, the Good News and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to 3 Reasons Why Loving Others is Not All There Is to Following Jesus

  1. ANTHONY PAUL says:

    For a certainty, Jesus has called us all to a higher order of life within the community of God… a command which is summed up in the words, “be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”. But who can even begin to accomplish such a task but the gods themselves.

    Your article is true and well spoken… but personally I believe that the human specie must evolve to a much higher order before any of this even starts to become the reality of life on earth. The visible church creates and seeks to perpetuate the fantasy that it is “the visible body of Christ on earth” because it purports to reflect Christ to the world. As long as that lie continues to persist and people continue to accept it as true, evolution and growth will be very slow in coming indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Anthony, I am afraid you are right. I don’t think the kingdom of God is the same as the ‘visible church’ for the visible church has been compromised since the early centuries by identifying with Caesar and mixing with the empire it was charged to transform.

      Jesus, himself, said the kingdom of God is not visible. I agree with you that the evolution and growth of the community of God will be very slow in coming to fruition due in great part to being eclipsed by ‘Christendom’ which actually provides competition to the community of God. Within ‘Christendom’ the kingdom of God seems to operate fully only here and there.

      Liked by 2 people

      • ANTHONY PAUL says:

        Once again, Tim, you have come right to the heart of the matter. In reading your posts I sometimes get the feeling that you and I are drawing from the same well. As I cannot replicate his eloquence, I would like to quote something that the late Charles Davis wrote in a book which I recommend highly to all: A Question Of Conscience…

        In writing about the rise and pre-eminence of secularism above and beyond Medieval Christendom, Davis writes: “Sensitive Christians in all Churches are trying to discern how to embody their Christian faith and life in structures that make sense in the modern world. There is not one of the Churches whose more perceptive members are not tortured by the obsolete irrelevance of its churchy institutions and practices… What should be the [visible presence of Christ in the world] today? What is the institutional structure best fitted for the mission of the Church in the present situation? There are no easy answers.”

        And then he goes on to address this issue as it affects modern man as “post-christian”… we who have inherited the mantle of faith in Jesus Christ but find ourselves unable to justify our belief on the basis of the old “christian” order of creation so long espoused in the early church.

        “So, the disappearance of Christendom has left Christians with a problem of God. Not just a problem for philosophical theology, but a cultural problem. Christians have to purify their concept of God from those elements which tie it to the culture and world view of Christendom. This is an immense task. The biblical language has been used so long according to a particular understanding that it has lost much of its force… Modern man has developed his culture largely under the aegis of secularism or radical immanentism. He will not be easily converted. To convert the post-Christian will not be the same as to convert the pagan. And the Christian Church will have to die in its present state before it rises again. Unfortunately, the Churches as institutions are clinging desperately to the outlook, structures and trappings they have inherited from Christendom. They prefer a decrepit survival to the hope of a resurrection through death.”

        In 1968, after 20 years as a Roman Catholic priest, Charles Davis chose to leave the church rather than be an instrument of its stale traditionalism. His writings perhaps more than any other outside source have served to strengthen my own resolve to remain outside the church for these many years. I enjoy sharing my own christian beliefs on this blog with so many who continue to sustain their struggle to learn and to grow — to find what the real truth of the Church of Christ is and to try each day to live it.

        Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Anthony, I think there are a lot of us drawing from the same well and it is gratifying to interact and fellowship with some of them right here on the blog community. I treasure our regular group (even though it slowly changes from time to time); it helps sustain me when I have insufficient locally at the moment

          I am not familiar with Charles Davis, but I like what you have reported about him. I agree with him that so many “Churches as institutions are clinging desperately to the outlook, structures and trappings they have inherited from Christendom. They prefer a decrepit survival to the hope of a resurrection through death.”

          I think many churches are losing their way in trying to capture numbers and significance with buildings, multiplied staff positions, entertainment, and programs that are often irrelevant and unsatisfying. The community of God is not meant to be an audience but a dynamic, growing, thriving entity.

          Like

      • Hi, before I start asking a lot of questions, I wondering if there was a certain church that you are affiliated with and thereby, align yourself with their views?

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Sorrow, I apologize for the delay. I was unexpectedly without my computer for over a week. I have been affiliated with more than one denomination over the years as my journey continued: Free Will Baptist, Church of God (Cleveland), Assemblies of God, and more recently the Presbyterian Church (USA). However, my views do not necessarily align with all the views of my church.

          Like

    • The apostle Paul clearly used the metaphor of the Spirit of Christ being like a human body, in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, Colossians 1, Colossians 2, and more. We are His body on this earth because we congregate with His Spirit inside of us. It is the collection of individuals who posses the Holy Spirit who make up the body of Christ on earth (1 Cor. 12) and therefore are His witnesses to the world.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Sorrow, I agree! We as believers are closely united through the Holy Spirit and are together Jesus’ witness to the world. Unfortunately, however, I think this witness has been muted among many believers as they have moved their focus from the good news of Jesus and the kingdom to embracing harmful beliefs such as angry god, inerrancy, legalism, fear of hell, and a general distortion of the character of God.

        It is good to hear from you!

        Like

  2. I’ve long thought of “loving others” to *especially* include our enemies and those we find otherwise “unloveable.” Of course, this is a great challenge (as is loving oneself when one views themselves as an enemy – and you can imagine how fundamentalist spirituality exacerbates this!).

    With the “sharing Jesus” part, in the past there was this *icky* remeberance of sharing “The Four Spiritial Laws” and “Evangelism Explosion,” and this (taught) conviction that a person’s blood was on your hands if they were kill by a car moments after leaving you, and you hadn’t given an “altar” call. *SIGH*

    …But through the years, as God and I went through some VERY difficult things together I decided to actually live in the promises that God-in-me, by the Spirit, would love through me, doing and speaking through me this love that they (others) required at the moment, and the outcomes were not my responsibility. Now you can take this in a lazy, negative way, but for me, I *very much* want people to see Jesus in me and fall into love with Him like I have, and I have been walked through some pretty heavy stuff where I made it only because of God’s help. Sooooo, instead of handing-out tracts on Tuesday evening, or calling for a recital of the “sinner’s prayer” over “table grace,” I love, and let Jesus come up naturally – He does sooner or later – people ask, or I’ll casually say something about the One I love…

    …Some years ago, I felt led to join a transgender support group. Because most people in this community in western countries have been *deeply hurt* by the Church, there is suspician to outright hostility toward believers. I asked “Lord, I sense that I am here for their sake and mine. I don’t know what to do and I know I am “way over my head.” I know I can listen and love and serve and pray: would You give me opportunities to do these things and whatever else You want?” And over the years, I would have opportunities to share bits of God’s wisdom (without “prooftexting, or even telling them “God says”), and I served them, and I listened and I was vulnerable with them about my own “stuff” (much of which was their “stuff” too), and I held their vulnerabilities in tenderness and not judgement…and I prayed and enlisted others to pray. And I was open and respectful, and yes, it got around that I follow Jesus…

    …Some years later, a Wiccan gal from this community approached me. She said, I want to share something with you: you have this reputation in the community for loving people…and she ticked-off all kinds of things about me and what I had done, and how I was trusted and appreciated. As she spoke, I got teary because she was describing Jesus to me!

    More recently, a nurse took my spouse aside (who was in the hospital awaiting yet another surgery) and she said: you and Brettany are known to be an “item” around here because your tender love for each other and others is so apparent; your love and acceptance for each other dispite in all your challenges is inspiring and encouraging. My spouse replied that she thought love and acceptance were that same, and the nurse said “no, no they aren’t. You can love without accepting another and accept without loving: y’all do both…”

    …Meanwhile our relationship with Jesus “just comes out” much in the same natual, relaxed winsome way that the fact I am a transgender woman becomes known. We and God are are marvelled because they see me stay by and love and care for my spouse through decades of serious chronic illness, and she lovingly stays with me through the *scandal* and “catastrophe” of my sex change. And these are “just” two of the challenges we’ve faced: people see us working through our impossibilities with God, and it encourages them to take another stab at their impossibilities, and even include God.

    Both before our marriage and through our 28 years together, we’ve opened our fridge, pantry, home and hearts to people of all walks of life, and we’ve parented many dozens of children not our own, some for years. Our home is modest and chaotic, but it there is always love present and to be shared. Even when there is conflict or hurt (which isn’t hidden), love and reconciliation and humility triumph. And we don’t seem to say much about our being Jesus’ followers but people seem to know, and they come to us to talk about their problems and spiritual things. And sometimes we are “burned” by people (whom we repeatedly find ways to love anyway), but mostly it seems that God brings the people “burned” by the world (and Church) to us for refreshment and renewal…

    …We are like wildflowers instead of cultivated flowers – our Lord’s “weeds in the wilderness,” unkillable, growing in difficult, unlikely, unpopular places people pass through but generally don’t stay (unless they must). Early in our marriage, when we were crying-put for guidance, God gave us a specific message saying that we were an “oasis of love in the desert,” to love people in the most unlikely of places, and especially love the “underloved” and “unlovely” – it was something we were already doing, but God encouraged us by naming it, making it plain to us.

    To summarize, both speaking and doing are important ways of sharing Christ and spreading the influence of the kingdom and of loving enemies. Focusing on either one as an extreme has problems, but when one is in Love with Christ and simply trusting God for opportunities and words-to-say and things-to-do, God’s Spirit makes these things happen, and even when it looks messy (and IS messy), God is STILL working it to good.

    “Abandon yourself to God (who has your back) and when in doubt, do the kind thing.”

    Blessings & Joy!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Wow, Brettany, this is a wonderful story! You have really lived it and your words are filled with experience and wisdom. I love your perspectives and the way you live them out.

      For a long time I lived in the world you describe with…”“The Four Spiritual Laws” and “Evangelism Explosion,” (and I might add the “Roman Road”) and this (taught) conviction that a person’s blood was on your hands if they were killed by a car moments after leaving you, and you hadn’t given an “altar” call.” It was a world filled with pressure, guilt, and fear, and I remember the period when I traded all that for relationships instead.

      It seems you have had a wonderful journey, and I hope you continue to share your experience and wisdom here regularly. There are people who would benefit greatly from it.

      Liked by 1 person

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  9. newtonfinn says:

    This is a most helpful and insightful post, made even more powerful by Brettany’s brave and heartening contribution. During my years of timidly following and often stumbling in Jesus’ footsteps, I have had an aversion to preaching the Gospel by spoken words, though I have done my share of writing about Jesus and the life of truth he invited us to embrace. It seemed to me that so much evil flowed from misinterpretations of the Great Commission, used to cover atrocities from the crusades to colonialism to empire. It also seemed that New Testament scholarship had pretty much relegated the Great Commission to editorial gloss, in light of the Trinity formulation it articulates, a doctrine that seems to have developed only in the decades following Jesus’ death. Thus, when I came to write my own synoptic gospel, I had Jesus’ parting words be “Feed my sheep,” drawing upon his many sayings and parables that use the metaphors of sheep and shepherds to illustrate the Community of God. But certainly, the feeding of his sheep would entail not only acts of love but also the words of wisdom and transformation contained in the Gospel.

    Turning to loving one’s enemies and praying for them, I’ve often wondered what this really means. Am I to strive to overcome the anger that arises when I see injustice and oppression? Jesus seemed to vent such feelings rather freely, which helped to get him killed. While it’s often facile to say “hate the sin, love the sinner,” there does appear to be a truth in it when it comes to situations like these. I know in my heart that I am not to hate people like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, despite the untold suffering caused by their actions in the political arena. When I pray for them, it is that God would change their hearts and minds, not that He will prosper them in the courses of action they have undertaken. Whether that is what Jesus told me I should do, to pray for my enemies in that limited fashion, I do not know, but it’s all that I am able to do at this point. Am I judging them? Yes, I suppose, but I do so, I hope, in the spirit of Jesus, who indeed harshly judged sins of power and privilege, as opposed to sins of weakness and the flesh. Am I to leave all such judgment to him and to God? Vengeance is certainly a matter for the higher powers (who I doubt will exercise it), but judgment–prophetic judgment–seems to be a different animal.

    So as not to drag on, let me just summarize what I believe to be two central thrusts of Jesus’ ethical teaching: (1) we are not to be tribal in any sense (which also has to do with loving those we might perceive as our enemies), and (2) we are to avoid wealth accumulation and give all excess money and property to the poor (not only for the sake of the poor, but for the sake of our own souls, for if we accumulate wealth, our hearts will inevitably be captured by it). Rarely have I heard a modern Christian message that highlights or even acknowledges this second central ethical teaching of Jesus, which is another reason that I wrote “Life of Truth: a synoptic gospel.” Since my booklet is sinking to the netherworld on the Kindle popularity list, I hope, Tim, that you won’t mind if I again provide a link to it, available for 99 cents (which goes to feeding the poor).

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Newton, I really like your two central thrusts of Jesus’ ethical teaching: “(1) we are not to be tribal in any sense (which also has to do with loving those we might perceive as our enemies), and (2) we are to avoid wealth accumulation and give all excess money and property to the poor (not only for the sake of the poor, but for the sake of our own souls, for if we accumulate wealth, our hearts will inevitably be captured by it).” Tribalism and greed are both foreign to the teaching and example of Jesus.

      I join you in applauding Brettany’s contribution to the comments on this post. She sounds as though she is a like-minded fellow traveler to me. And I agree that some people are difficult to love properly, but I think they are the very people who cause us to examine ourselves and stay on track in loving others (it is easy to love the lovable). Of course this does not mean we must agree with them or refuse to challenge them–but we must not hate them.

      Regarding your book, I will say again that I really enjoyed it and suggest that those who might be interested take a peek.

      Liked by 2 people

      • newtonfinn says:

        Just one additional thought and a couple of related questions. There are two great commandments in Jesus’ teaching. The second, not the first, is to love one’s neighbor as oneself. The first and greatest commandment concerns loving God with all one’s emotions (heart), all one’s will (soul), and all one’s intellect (mind). The second commandment, Jesus indicates, is like the first, presumably because both have to do with love, and it is God’s desire that we love our fellow human beings (and, I believe with Schweitzer, that we also love all living things and creation itself in reverence for life). Certainly one can be a loving human being without believing in, much less loving, God. So why, I ask, does Jesus insist that love for God, intense love that includes every fiber of our being, is the prime imperative rather than simple humanitarianism? Are many of us (including me) missing something here, something that goes far beyond love of neighbor, and if so, might that missing piece have something to do with the checkered history of Christianity and the seemingly insoluble problems in our world?

        Liked by 2 people

        • sheila0405 says:

          Jesus was a first century Jewish preacher. He was affirming the great commandment in Deuterotomy 6:4,5 that Jews today still proclaim. Jesus was a monotheistic who followed YHWH.

          Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          “So why, I ask, does Jesus insist that love for God, intense love that includes every fiber of our being, is the prime imperative rather than simple humanitarianism?”

          Newton, I think this is a very good question and I have thought about it myself. People need our love but I don’t see how God ‘needs’ anything from us. Our loving God will not increase his/her self esteem, make feel better about him/her self, or help him/her to deal with their reality in any way. So why is it so important?

          I would suggest that ‘loving God’ is not for God’s sake but ours. Many of us were taught that God is angry with us–harsh, demanding, and vindictive. How can we really love a God like that? But Jesus tells us instead of a loving parent–in fact a God who loves us (and everyone else) unconditionally and without limit. Once we realize the depths of God’s love for us, our love for God is responsive–based on the depth of God’s love for us.

          I contend that until we understand God’s love for us we cannot love ourselves in a proper way. And if we don’t love ourselves, we certainly don’t want to love others as ourselves and in fact cannot love them appropriately. So, to me, loving God makes it possible for us to love ourselves and then love others.

          But what does it mean to love God. I see loving others as involving empathy, compassion, and care. Does God need empathy, compassion, and care from us? I don’t think so. Love also involves acceptance; does God need our acceptance?

          Instead, I think loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind is something else; it is a responsive love to God’s love for us. It causes us to feel comfortable with God, to appreciate God, and (more importantly) to align ourselves with God. This, in turn, involves our attempting to see others as God sees them–with limitless love. And when align with God and see people as God sees them, then our love for others can be pure and full.

          Anyway, these are just my thoughts on what it means to love God and why it is important. Thanks for raising this important question.

          Liked by 1 person

          • newtonfinn says:

            Thanks, Tim, for these observations, which go a long way to clarifying some things that I have a tendency to gloss over. It is these kinds of interchanges that make Jesus Without Baggage so valuable, so necessary.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Newton, I am always happy when I can be a bit helpful.

            Like

  10. sheila0405 says:

    There are many Christians quietly living out love, community and forgiveness. They love to share what Jesus means to them. Too often their voices get drowned out by legalists. As an atheist, I appreciate & admire those who promote the good teachings of the Jesus in the Gospels.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Sheila, you didn’t actually say it in these words but I really like your idea of the voices of love getting drowned out by legalism. This is EXACTLY what happens! And I am glad that your transition to atheism has not caused you to become anti-Jesus.

      Liked by 3 people

    • newtonfinn says:

      If only we could all meet on this common ground…. There are many Christians who feel the same way about our loving atheist brothers and sisters.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. JJS says:

    “No matter how accommodating a government might be, the community of God is counter-cultural.” Amen! Yet we still hear so much about the US being a “Christian nation.” Those who seek to impose a top-down Christianity don’t seem to get the irony of such a position.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      JJS, I think you are right; a ‘Christian nation’ is a contradiction of terms–and trying to impose a top-down Christianity is both un-Christian and unconstitutional.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. ANTHONY PAUL says:

    While we’re on the subject of the two great commandments and especially “loving one’s neighbor”, I often get the feeling that most people feel that this is something that comes natural to us… that we could somehow accomplish this even if there were no God. Bearing in mind that we are not just generalizing about our “love for humanity” as an amorphous entity, Jesus called us to love something much closer to our space. Indeed He elevates the law to a higher standard when He commands us to “love our enemies”. In effect, what many people have come to believe is just a natural part of being human — i.e., love of neighbor — is actually quite supernatural insofar as we are called to love that which is unlovable. Furthermore, Jesus continues the discussion of “who is my neighbor” when He tells the parable of The Good Samaritan which shows us that love of one’s neighbor is not about having “the warm fuzzies” about someone… after all, the Samaritan was there to help a man who he could just as easily have ignored as of no consequence in his life… a Jew who in day to day life was no friend of Samaritans. Why didn’t Jesus tell the parable about “The Good Jew helping his fellow Jew” or “The Good Samaritan helping his fellow Samaritan” instead? My point is that Jesus is trying to show us that we must, in fact, live lives which stretch us beyond our nature as human beings and that this is anything but natural or even comfortable for us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • newtonfinn says:

      Your post abounds with important insights, ones that hit home to me. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Wow, Anthony! I think you nailed it! I couldn’t say anything better or clearer than this:

      “Jesus continues the discussion of “who is my neighbor” when He tells the parable of The Good Samaritan which shows us that love of one’s neighbor is not about having “the warm fuzzies” about someone… after all, the Samaritan was there to help a man who he could just as easily have ignored as of no consequence in his life… a Jew who in day to day life was no friend of Samaritans. Why didn’t Jesus tell the parable about “The Good Jew helping his fellow Jew” or “The Good Samaritan helping his fellow Samaritan” instead? My point is that Jesus is trying to show us that we must, in fact, live lives which stretch us beyond our nature as human beings and that this is anything but natural or even comfortable for us.”

      I think far too many believers are caught up in the ‘warm fuzzies’ and think it meets the intent of loving others.

      Like

  13. Edie Taylor says:

    The idea of Christianity as “counter-cultural” is thought-provoking. Perhaps if it were more generally seen this way there would be fewer public speakers claiming to be “Christian” while at the same time attacking target groups. I often hear such mean-spirited attacks and wonder how he/she can square that with being a Christian. The fact is, being Christian is hard, even in – or especially in – a “Christian” nation. We all fall short.

    Liked by 1 person

    • newtonfinn says:

      For the Fourth of July weekend this year, there’s a flag flying on my porch with a peace symbol in place of the stars, and a yard sign that says “NO NEW WARS, HOT OR COLD.” Small gestures, I know, but what if my entire neighborhood and others around the country were filled with similar expressions of a higher form of patriotism, one more in line with the teaching of Jesus? It’s got to start somewhere.

      Liked by 2 people

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Newton, I like it! It would be great if more people did this. Where did you get the flag?

        Liked by 1 person

        • newtonfinn says:

          I think I got it years ago, back in the hippie days, when these kinds of flags were popular. I’m sure they are still available on the internet. What I like about them is that they refuse to yield the flag to the militaristic xenophobic form of patriotism and instead point to what America might be if more of us learned to love our country in the right way…with an allegiance subordinate to Jesus as you describe in your post.

          Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hi Edie, sorry for the delayed response. I had some email issues and just now found your comment. I agree with you; if Christianity was generally seen as counter-cultural there would be a lot fewer public advocates of Christianity. On the flip side, this means that many believers have abandoned the true spirit and intent of the kingdom of God by identifying too tightly with the government and culture.

      Like

  14. Wonderful work man 👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

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